A veteran-led organization was tapped to help relocate Afghan refugees, including those temporarily housed at Camp Atterbury.
Team Rubicon volunteers from across the country have been sent to seven bases in six states to help relocate the refugees. In Indiana, there are about 500 volunteers registered to give back, and about 30 volunteers daily help raise and sort donations for refugees in southern Johnson County, representatives from Team Rubicon said.
Volunteers take donations seven days a week at the Johnson County Park Amphitheater, then sort and package them in a nearby warehouse for distribution to the base, they said.
Fundraising is an integral part of the mission, as the refugees have taken up and left their entire lives in their homeland after the Taliban regained control of the country. You brought few, if any, possessions with you and just start over with the clothes on your back.
Team Rubicon volunteers were drawn into the mission to serve those in support of the United States Mission in Afghanistan. Locals help, but many have traveled to Johnson County to help.
“When I saw Team Rubicon doing this mission, I wanted to attend whenever and wherever I could,” said Rusty Hessler, an Ohio volunteer.
No matter what war they served in or whether they were on active service, veterans who serve are committed to the mission, they said.
âI feel personally committed to the entire war. Since I have the opportunity to help, I am responsible for it, âsaid Tyler Smith, a volunteer who has served five assignments in Iraq.
Giving back together keeps the spirit of teamwork alive and helps those around you, they said.
âThe most fun for me is giving back in camaraderie with other veterans. The most important thing we learn in the military is the importance of teamwork, âsaid Tom Powell, a volunteer. “I really enjoyed the teamwork aspects of Team Rubicon as we accomplish our mission.”
In the weeks since the Johnson County Fundraiser was set up, more than 700,000 donations have been processed for the roughly 6,600 refugees at the base. Donations ranged from clothing and baby items to toys and hygiene products to help evacuees of all ages start their lives over in a new place.
As the cooler temperatures approach, the most urgent items of clothing, hats, scarves, gloves, coats and shoes for all ages are the most urgent items of clothing. Child sizes and small and medium-sized adult clothing are most needed.
With at least eight babies born since the refugees arrived, more baby food and diapers are another ongoing need.
Donations can be made at the amphitheater, or donors can purchase items from Team Rubicon’s Amazon.com wishlist and have the items delivered directly to the warehouse. A link to the list is available at teamrubiconusa.org/resetlement.
Team Rubicon, founded in 2010 to respond to a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, supports refugees and continues to help in a variety of ways across the country. The organization recently responded to Hurricane Ida, a flood event in Tennessee, and provided medical assistance to the Navajo nation.
HOW TO HELP
Team Rubicon donation page:
Johnson County Park Amphitheater, 7105 S Kern St, Edinburgh. Donations are accepted seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The following Johnson County websites are also accepting donations:
Johnson County Recycling District: 900 Arvin Drive, Franklin. The Franklin Recycling Center is open for drop-off Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Trafalgar Christian Church: 300 West Pearl Street, Trafalgar. Those interested in making donations should call Pastor Kyrmen Rea beforehand or text them at 317-408-9782.
Union Christian Church: 1331 East 300 South, Franklin. Those interested in donating should call Rev. Mark Parkinson in advance at 765-744-9772.
Wild Geese Bookstore: 107 South Water Street, Franklin. The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wild geese will be collecting at this location through Sunday and picking them up again on October 1st at their new store at 40 East Madison Street.
Franklin Community High School: 2600 Cumberland Drive, Franklin. Donations can be accepted during school hours from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Franklin Community Middle School: Grizzly Cub Drive 625, Franklin. Donations can be accepted during school hours from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Franklin Parks and Recreation: 396 Branigin Blvd, Franklin. Donations can be accepted during office hours Monday to Thursday 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Friday 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Franklin City Hall: 70 E. Monroe St., Franklin. Donations can be accepted during business hours from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.